Rebuilding requires time and patience

    First year head coaches should not be expected to instantly turn their team around

    More stories from Parker Reed


    Photo by Kelsey Smith

    UW-Eau Claire football head coach, Dan Larson, is an example of a head coach in his first year at a new university.

    Firing an existing restaurant manager and expecting a new one to instantly turn it around in a short period of time is unrealistic. The same can be said for new head coaches.

    Head coaches at the university level, especially in the major sports of football, basketball, baseball and hockey, have a lot of control in how the team is operated. They are in charge of recruiting new athletes in the offseason and keeping a team together during the season while trying to win. A coach builds a program around his idea of what will make the team successful.

    So when a head coach either leaves or is fired, that planning goes out the window and a new head coach is expected to build a new one in its place, which is not an easy task.

    When a head coach is replaced, all the parts they put into place remain when a new head coach arrives. So the new head coach needs to make a variety of changes to fit the new scheme that he or she has in mind. The new head coach needs to decide what types of players the program needs to succeed and they have to actively recruit that type of talent.

    The new head coach may also want to replace some members of their coaching staff to better reflect the system and the type of atmosphere they want surrounding the program.

    The players must also adjust to the new way of doing things. Players in all sports spend hours preparing for games and events and studying the game plan. So when a new coach is brought in, they will likely bring in a new game plan.

    Players are asked to adjust to the new game plan in the span of a month or two and are expected to become familiar with it in a short period of time. That is unrealistic.

    These factors lead to the expectation by the university and its fans that a new head coach should usher in a new era of success upon first arriving to the university. They are expected to win instantly or else their hiring will be called into question.

    Expecting a head coach to succeed upon first stepping onto the university campus cannot be fostered. Instead, a few more realistic goals should be set for a new head coach.

    Like a sickness, sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. Often times a team may be worse right away after getting a new coach. I believe a head coach should be given at least two years before being expected to start consistently winning. It only makes sense due to all of the moving parts.

    The second half of expectations placed on new head coaches is creating a winning atmosphere. In that area is an expectation that I believe can be instantly measured.

    Winning can only be obtained in a winning environment. A head coach should be able to instantly create a winning environment in his or her arrival by spreading positivity through the program. Winning cannot instantly take place but getting players to believe they can be successful is something that can be fostered from day one.

    A new coach shouldn’t be expected to go undefeated and win the national championship upon arrival. Instead they should be expected to slowly build a winning program and do it in a positive environment they create upon arrival. The key to long term success for any program is to slowly build a winning tradition, which takes patience and belief. A lot of programs don’t possess these two traits, which is one of the main reasons head coaches who don’t instantly win are let go quickly.